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Leaving Out 'Faith/Life Balance' Behind When We 'GO Into the World' This Chinese New Year

Posted by Stephen Birkett on

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Since we know there are no coincidences with God, we should not be surprised that the Global Outreach ‘GO’ Conference came right before Chinese New Year, with all its busy coming and going. On the contrary, as we prepare to dive into what is—for many of us—the year’s most intense programme of social activity and travel, it is thought-provoking to consider how God might want us to ‘GO’ about it.

As we were all reminded at the Conference and Sunday’s services, we all have a call in our lives to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’—and our particular role in this may be at home, nearby, or far overseas. In Hong Kong we don’t even have to travel to reach the nations because they come to us. The only real question for each of us is what this call from Jesus looks like specifically in our individual case: how am I called to live out that principle in tangible action?

Yet we are experts at avoiding this issue by coming up with other questions or excuses. Just as Pastor Brett pointed out in a recent sermon that the widely adopted phrase ‘work/life balance’ draws a false distinction (since they are integrated and should be treated accordingly), so there is another similar false distinction we often seem to live by implicitly: this one is a ‘faith/life’ balance, where our faith is housed in sealed compartments insulated from contact with the rest of our lives, or at least large chunks of our lives where we are still grimly holding on to control.

If anything, the ‘faith/life’ trap is sadder than the work/life one: a ‘life’ lived in isolation from our faith is surely even more distorted than one that excludes our work. So as our God of second chances presents us with a second fresh start to the year, let us invite Him into the reserved areas of our lives, and ask how and where (not whether or when) He wants us to engage in the Great Commission, to participate in the abundant life He offers us.

And in particular, as we GO (which includes staying!) to spend time with non-Christian family and/or friends this Chinese New Year, let us ‘UNCLIP’ and share with them the reason for our faith, by being:

Urgent: bring a sense of urgency, as each opportunity may be the last
Natural: be yourself (the best version)
Creative: think of creative ways to bring Jesus into the conversation
Loving: the truth needs to be delivered with love
Intentional: have a plan. Don’t leave the topic to come up by itself
Prayerful: this is step 1—let’s get started now!

In this season of new beginnings and spending time with loved ones, let us:

  • Thank God for the gift of faith and the opportunity to participate in the Great Commission by sharing the reasons for that faith with your non-Christian family and friends
  • Ask God to help them see His extended grace, soften their hearts and heal their spiritual blindness so they may receive and accept Him.

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